By Ben Cohen: Tuesday night’s second Presidential debate in New York between President Obama and Mitt Romney should determine the direction of the race going forward. There are just over two weeks left till voters go to the polls and contrary to early predictions, the race is pretty tight. It was a one horse race that saw Obama beating Romney across the board until the first debate two weeks ago where the President inexplicably showed up half asleep and allowed Romney to catapult himself back into contention.
From a factual point of view, the debate was also very one sided – Mitt Romney lied his way through the evening making numbers up and distorting the President’s record at every given opportunity. While not perfect, Obama generally speaking told the truth. But Americans don’t care too much about facts and figures – they want rousing speeches and polished ‘Presidential’ performances from their candidates, and if Obama is to reverse the enormous damage his showing did last time around, he’s going to have to buck up big time.
It appears that Obama has been taking preparations seriously – he has bunkered down in Virginia to go through intensive training for tomorrow night, and he will no doubt be looking to erase his atrocious performance from two weeks ago from voters minds. High off of his last performance, Romney will come in cool and confident so Obama needs to be on his ‘A’ game in order to pull the race back in his direction.
Here’s our 10 point guide addressed to the President himself (yes, we have those type of connections here at The Daily Banter….) on how not to screw up the debate tomorrow night:
1. Don’t look down at your notes. It looks like you don’t know what you are talking about. The facts should be memorized.
2. Do not laugh at what Romney is saying. Yes, it will mostly be completely laughable, but it doesn’t look Presidential (whatever that means). Joe Biden could get away with it, but he’s not the President. You are, so act like it.
3. Counter Romney on EVERY SINGLE POINT. You have to be seen to be not taking any nonsense. Romney is going to lie like he has all the way through the campaign, so there will be many, many opportunities to butt in and tell the audience he is not being honest with them.
4. Use zingers. This could be a controversial tactic, but it’s an important one. Prepared retorts can be very effective when delivered at the right time. When you were engaged in a highly exciting back and forth with Hillary Clinton back in 2008, you brought up a comment Bill Clinton had made. Hillary replied: “Well I’m here, and he’s not,” to which you responded, “Well I can’t tell who I’m running against sometimes”. We need more of this please.
5. Take charge of the debate and determine where the fight takes place. Last time you allowed Romney to dictate the topic while you reacted. This means countering his point then directing the debate where you want it to go. For example, do not allow him to talk about the debt on his terms – frame it in your own. When he says “Obama drove up the national debt”, you counter with “Republicans drove up the debt in the first place and we had to clean up the gigantic mess. Exactly where were you when Bush kept authorizing more spending on two wars while passing tax cuts?”
6. No ‘ums’. No need to elaborate on this point.
7. Tout your record. 31 straight months of economic growth and a health care bill that will actually help people is not something to shy away from.
8. Attack Romney on the ‘47%’ remarks. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TOPIC FOR THE DEBATE. This must be done relentlessly.
9. Highlight the fact that Romney’s math do not add up. This is a battle for the center, and they are looking for competency above all. No matter how polished Romney comes across when discussing numbers, report after report shows that his tax policies are complete nonsense and could never work.
10. Remind everyone that there is more work to do and present a positive vision for the future. Portray the Republicans as having a plan for millionaires but nothing for everyone else. Remind Americans what Bush did from 2000 to 2008 and remind them that under no circumstances should they be allowed anywhere near the White House for a very long time to come.
Remember to tune in to The Daily Banter at 9pm ET/6pm PT on Tuesday for our live blog of the Presidential debate where we will be giving up to the minute opinion and analysis!!
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.